Review by Eva Darrington -- From Drift to SHIFT

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Eva Darrington
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Review by Eva Darrington -- From Drift to SHIFT

Post by Eva Darrington » 01 Feb 2018, 14:58

[Following is a volunteer review of "From Drift to SHIFT" by Jody B. Miller.]
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2 out of 4 stars
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Most of us have experienced times when we aren't happy – when we wish our lives were somehow different. Maybe we are in a dead-end job or a failing relationship. In From Drift to Shift, author Jody B. Miller’s 2017 book, she writes, “When we don’t feel useful or worthy in work and life, we spiral downward. How do we rise up from the pit of despair?” Miller set out to answer this existential question. She boldly asserts that this book serves as a roadmap to where we want to be – to “true happiness and fulfillment every day.”

Jody Miller’s 12 years as an executive recruiter and job/life coach positioned her to compile the stories of eight people who each found themselves in challenging, and even death-defying, situations. From Drift to Shift is presented in four sections that each represent a phase in the process of shifting toward a better life. Section one examines the motivation for change. Serita’s success in spite of her foster care beginnings, and the survival of the Amazon-dwelling Achuar people teach us to follow our hearts regardless of the opposition.

Section two, “When to Shift,” introduces Andy, an extreme-sports athlete who nearly died in a skydiving accident. After persevering through 26 surgeries and years of rigorous physical therapy, Andy went on to help others who have experienced injury, trauma, or disability. Somehow Andy forged on even in the absence of personal strength. How do we keep going in the face of desperate circumstances? That brings us to section three.

“How to Shift” invites us into the heart of the matter. Whether it is trauma, depression, illness, or general dissatisfaction, Miller examines how people successfully rise up and out of challenging circumstances. Commitment, focus, and determination are important, but what actually enables us to stay committed to changing our life path? That’s where spirituality comes in. Having a connection with some version of spiritual principles is a theme that runs through this section and much of the book. Buddhism, Christianity, and Hinduism all figure prominently as potential paths to happiness and fulfillment.

Many of the stories are compelling, though they often stray far from the stated theme of the book. The full title of the book is From Drift to Shift: How Change Can Bring True Meaning and Happiness to Your Work and Life. In the introduction, the author asserts, “We spend more than 30 percent of our lives doing something we hate, or we stay in relationships that make us miserable. We just drift along.” She sets up a theme in the realm of work and relationships but then meanders into the depth of trauma. Many of the people in Miller's stories experience severe, severe trauma – from early attachment wounds to near-death disfiguring accidents. These stories are a mismatch for this book’s theme. I question why the author chose to include stories with this level of severity. These survivors were not somehow “drifting” in their lives and needing to “shift.” They endured years, sometimes decades, of therapies and painstaking personal work. Miller fails to hone in on whether the book is a self-help book about how to shift out of job or relationship dissatisfaction, or a psychology book about how to move beyond severe trauma, or a spiritual/inspirational book about how to achieve fulfillment through spirituality. Unfortunately, Miller doesn’t do any of these things really well.

There is an apparent disconnect between the author’s spiritual prescription for change and her own words. In the introduction, Miller declares, “ I want you to be happy, in all things, every day of your life. This is what you deserve – it is your birthright.” The author espouses spiritual principles but repeatedly advances happiness as the ultimate goal. Buddhist and Hindu teachings acknowledge we can employ practices that help lessen the experience of suffering, but suffering will always come and go. And as for Christianity, “through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22). Happiness all day, every day is not a spiritual principle, nor is it a useful yardstick for change. It sets up an unattainable goal, which is the kryptonite of change. In addition, it undercuts the pain and discomfort that true change often requires. Spirituality figures largely in the book, but I don’t know of a spiritual tradition that promotes happiness in all things, at all times.

The book’s supplemental sections are cumbersome. The appendix and notes span a tedious 75 pages of this 259-page book. The appendix includes a long, detailed Hinduism primer. While interesting, a spiritual treatise this long doesn’t fit with the rest of the book. The notes section contains over 20 pages of additional advice and information from the author, where a page or two with some links would have been cleaner and more effective.

The book is full of editing errors – over 10. The editor used the semicolon improperly throughout the book. I stopped counting at 10 semicolon errors in the first 50 pages. I rate From Drift to Shift 2 out of 4 stars. While I think some will gain inspiration from the stories, the book as a whole was unfocused. And, the basic message was difficult to extract from the sea of feel-good clichés like, “Be as positive as you can.” If you are attracted to this book because of the theme invoked by the title, you may be disappointed. Miller ultimately fails to impart a clear path from “drift” to “shift.”

******
From Drift to SHIFT
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Post by Rose_13 » 10 Feb 2018, 23:41

Very nice & thorough review, I like how you went into detail about all the different aspects of the book.
And thank you for reading & commenting on my review of this book as well!

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Post by Eva Darrington » 10 Feb 2018, 23:56

Rose_13 wrote:
10 Feb 2018, 23:41
Very nice & thorough review, I like how you went into detail about all the different aspects of the book.
And thank you for reading & commenting on my review of this book as well!
Thanks so much for stopping by. I appreciate it.
Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep. -Scott Adams

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Post by ButterscotchCherrie » 11 Feb 2018, 04:43

You put your finger on the major shortcoming of this book in this excellent review. To be fair, the author says that the "shift" can be imposed by life in the form of devastating circumstances. But you're quite right that this is not the same thing as finding the impetus to break out of a life of quiet desperation.

I think Buddhism does focus on happiness as a goal, but yes, what is meant there is attaining nirvana through non-attachment.

I enjoyed reading your review and thinking about these points again, even if it brought back bad memories of all those semi-colon errors!

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Post by Eva Darrington » 11 Feb 2018, 10:55

ButterscotchCherrie wrote:
11 Feb 2018, 04:43
You put your finger on the major shortcoming of this book in this excellent review. To be fair, the author says that the "shift" can be imposed by life in the form of devastating circumstances. But you're quite right that this is not the same thing as finding the impetus to break out of a life of quiet desperation.

I think Buddhism does focus on happiness as a goal, but yes, what is meant there is attaining nirvana through non-attachment.

I enjoyed reading your review and thinking about these points again, even if it brought back bad memories of all those semi-colon errors!
Thanks so much for reading my review and commenting. I appreciate it.
Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep. -Scott Adams

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Post by KatyJS » 11 Feb 2018, 12:16

I love your review. I wasn’t as excited about the book as my review may indicate. But when I read her take on the point of the book, that hit me over the head. I often feel like all I do is drift. Sometimes I have a “Life Sucks” day. I want an instant answer, but there isn’t one.
Thanks for your feedback.
KatyJS

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Eva Darrington
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Post by Eva Darrington » 11 Feb 2018, 13:13

KatyJS wrote:
11 Feb 2018, 12:16
I love your review. I wasn’t as excited about the book as my review may indicate. But when I read her take on the point of the book, that hit me over the head. I often feel like all I do is drift. Sometimes I have a “Life Sucks” day. I want an instant answer, but there isn’t one.
Thanks for your feedback.
KatyJS
I appreciate you taking time to read my review. The book definitely had great potential to help us shift. It just fell short in some ways. Thanks for stopping by!
Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep. -Scott Adams

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Post by Umm_Zahra » 13 Feb 2018, 07:24

I enjoyed reading this. It was critically thorough, and raises questions I had passed over. Good job.

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Post by Adrian mulenga » 13 Feb 2018, 09:31

I think you did a great job reviewing the book, if I didn't read this book, I would have just after reading your review. Its good.

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Post by Eva Darrington » 13 Feb 2018, 13:00

Umm_Zahra wrote:
13 Feb 2018, 07:24
I enjoyed reading this. It was critically thorough, and raises questions I had passed over. Good job.
I appreciate you stopping by. I am often reminded of items I'd passed over from reading others' reviews. I guess that is the beauty of it all. Have a good week.
Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep. -Scott Adams

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Post by Eva Darrington » 13 Feb 2018, 13:02

Adrian mulenga wrote:
13 Feb 2018, 09:31
I think you did a great job reviewing the book, if I didn't read this book, I would have just after reading your review. Its good.
Thank you for reading my review. I appreciate you stopping by. Have a good week.
Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep. -Scott Adams

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Post by Musae » 14 Feb 2018, 01:03

Nice review - I love good self-help books but most are not worth reading.

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Post by Eva Darrington » 14 Feb 2018, 09:19

Musae wrote:
14 Feb 2018, 01:03
Nice review - I love good self-help books but most are not worth reading.
Thank you for stopping by. I really wanted to like this book, but it was just too unfocused for me. Have a good week.
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Post by Sarah Tariq » 14 Feb 2018, 11:19

Thanks for this nice, critical review. I like inspirational books. The Stories of this are really encouraging. But you are right that inner material doesn't truly represent its title.
Make your ideals high enough to inspire you and low enough to encourage you.

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Post by Eva Darrington » 14 Feb 2018, 12:00

Sarah Tariq wrote:
14 Feb 2018, 11:19
Thanks for this nice, critical review. I like inspirational books. The Stories of this are really encouraging. But you are right that inner material doesn't truly represent its title.
Thanks for stopping by Sarah. Yes, some of the stories were really inspiring. People can overcome devastating circumstances. That would make another good book. About people thriving after overcoming tragic events. Have a good week.
Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep. -Scott Adams

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